Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

The Brussels Business – Who Runs the European Union?

The Brussels Business - Who Runs the European Union? - which puts the spotlight on the power of the lobbying industry in Brussels - is to have its Belgian Premiere at the Millenium Documentary Film Festival in Brussels on Thursday 19 April 2012. Corporate Europe Observatory was approached by the filmmakers at the start of their project and our early work features prominently in the film, which tells the story of how industry lobby groups heavily influenced the EU's development from the 1980s onwards.

Since that time, the presence of industry lobbyists in Brussels has grown – as has their influence and the corporate agenda is clearly visible in the EU’s policies – including in its response to the crisis. This year, CEO celebrates its 15th birthday – and in May this year we will be marking the event with a conference that highlights the corporate influence on the current crises facing the European Union.

Here’s how the film-makers introduce “The Brus$els Business” movie:

“In the early 1990s two young men come across the huge influence of lobbying on the EU decision-making in Brussels. One starts to investigate and fight it and becomes the EU’s leading lobby-watchdog, the other becomes a high profile lobbyist for 40 multinational companies.

The film dives into the shadowy world of lobbying, the secretive networks of power and big business influence on EU-policy-making in Brussels. It tells the non-official version of the European Integration since the 1980s, the story of the neoliberal take-over in European politics.

At a time when Europe is facing a deep crisis that can bring the world economy to collapse this film tries to answer one question millions of people ask themselves: Who runs the European Union?”

You can find more information about the “The Brus$els Business” on the website and more information about the Millenium Documentary Film Festival here.

The movie will enter cinemas in other countries over the coming months, while the TV version will be showed on ARTE, Belgian, German and Austria TV in the autumn. 

Further reading

“The Brus$els Business” features a number of important cases of industry influence over the last 15-20 years which Corporate Europe Observatory has researched and documented. Here’s a selection of recommended reading:

Since that time, the presence of industry lobbyists in Brussels has grown – as has their influence and the corporate agenda is clearly visible in the EU’s policies – including in its response to the crisis. This year, CEO celebrates its 15th birthday – and in May this year we will be marking the event with a conference that highlights the corporate influence on the current crises facing the European Union.Here’s how the film-makers introduce “The Brus$els Business” movie:“In the early 1990s two young men come across the huge influence of lobbying on the EU decision-making in Brussels. One starts to investigate and fight it and becomes the EU’s leading lobby-watchdog, the other becomes a high profile lobbyist for 40 multinational companies.The film dives into the shadowy world of lobbying, the secretive networks of power and big business influence on EU-policy-making in Brussels. It tells the non-official version of the European Integration since the 1980s, the story of the neoliberal take-over in European politics.At a time when Europe is facing a deep crisis that can bring the world economy to collapse this film tries to answer one question millions of people ask themselves: Who runs the European Union?”You can find more information about the “The Brus$els Business” on the website and more information about the Millenium Documentary Film Festival here.The movie will enter cinemas in other countries over the coming months, while the TV version will be showed on ARTE, Belgian, German and Austria TV in the autumn. Further reading“The Brus$els Business” features a number of important cases of industry influence over the last 15-20 years which Corporate Europe Observatory has researched and documented. Here’s a selection of recommended reading:Europe Inc. – Regional and Global Restructuring and the Rise of Corporate Power, 2000, Pluto Press, London.The 2nd edition (2003) of Europe Inc. can still be ordered on line from Pluto Press.Here you can download pdfs of three chapters:Writing the Script: The European Roundtable of IndustrialistsPolishing the EMU: The Association for the Monetary Union of EuropeDoing Business in Amsterdam: The ERT, UNICE and the Treaty of Amsterdam “MAIGALOMANIA! Citizens and the Environment Sacrificed to Corporate Investment Agenda”, report on the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), February 1998.“WTO Millennium Bug: TNC Control Over Global Trade Politics”, report about the proposed Millennium Round of negotiations in the World Trade Organisation, July 1999.“Would you bank on them?”, report about industry capture of the high-level EU advisory group on the financial crisis, February 2009
 

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A few weeks after the May coup against Dilma Rousseff by conservative parties backed by the country's largest corporations, Brazil's “interim” government, led by Michel Temer, signed an emergency loan to the State of Rio de Janeiro to help finance infrastructure for the 2016 Olympics. The bailout was conditional to selling off the State's public water supply and sanitation company, the Companhia Estadual de Águas e Esgotos (Cedae). 

When we interviewed City Councillor and chair of Rio’s Special Committee on the Water Crisis Renato Cinco, in December 2015, he was already warning against such privatisation threats and provided important background information on the water situation in Rio.

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CEO presents some first reflections on the UK's vote for Brexit.

 
 
 
 
 
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The corporate lobby tour